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NRDC CHALLENGES SECOND EPA MERCURY RULE

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2005) -- NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) today filed a lawsuit challenging a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that establishes weak, delayed caps for mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. The rule, published yesterday in the Federal Register, also permits "trading" of mercury pollution, in violation of the Clean Air Act. As a result, power plants will not have to make significant pollution reductions for years or even decades, and some dirty plants may escape regulation altogether, perpetuating so-called "hot spots" of harmful mercury pollution.

This lawsuit complements suits filed yesterday by NRDC and other environmental groups. Those suits challenge a separate rule that removed power plants from the Clean Air Act's list of pollution sources for which EPA must establish strict, technologically-based pollution standards. Together, EPA's "delisting" and "cap-and-trade" rules permit power plants to escape meaningful regulation of their toxic pollution, leaving children and other vulnerable populations at risk for serious, adverse health effects.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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